Tackling misinformation, live high / train low, blood doping, and blood flow restriction training with a world-renowned physiologist and physician and pioneer in sports medicine.
Tackling misinformation, live high / train low, blood doping, and blood flow restriction training with a world-renowned physiologist and physician and pioneer in sports medicine.
Dr. Jim Stray-Gundersen shared his wealth of expertise is a diverse array of athletic performance fields.
Jim Stray-Gundersen is a world-renowned expert in Sports Medicine, Exercise Physiology and Training for Sport Performance, and is a world-renowned expert in BFR Training. Drawing from his lifetime of experience with elite level athletes and clinical populations, Dr. Jim Stray-Gundersen is one of the world’s leading physiologists and strongly believes that BFR will revolutionize training and rehabilitation everywhere.
In designing the B Strong System with Sean Whalen, Dr. Stray-Gundersen wished to make the most affordable, simple, safe, and effective BFR training bands on the market so that he could share this discovery with as many people as possible and increase the overall fitness of the world. Dr. Stray-Gundersen has identified the key mechanisms, applications, and safety guidelines and applied them to develop a safe and effective product.
He also lectures throughout Europe and North America for those seeking protocols and guidelines to maximize benefits and eliminate risk of BFR training.
As a physician, Dr. James Stray-Gundersen has treated thousands of patients and athletes alike. As a researcher, he authored the ground-breaking study, “Live high, train low” that revolutionized altitude training. As a sports scientist, he has worked with elite-level teams in skiing, cycling, running, soccer, and countless others.
Dr Stray-Gundersen has been involved in the training regimens of Olympians and World Class athletes resulting in over 100 Olympic Medals and World Championships. With over 40 years of hands-on experience with people and athletes of all ages, Dr. Stray-Gundersen has constantly been at the forefront of top-level performance. He predicts, B Strong Training will change how the world gains the benefits of exercise, improving longevity and quality of life. B Strong Training will change your life.
[7:43] Speed Skating at a High Level
[9:56] Blood Doping and Developing WADA
[18:01] Benefits from Living High, Training Low scenario
[24:42] Discovering Blood Flow Restriction Training
[31:24] Effective workouts with Blood Flow Restriction
[41:04] Blood flow Restriction training and recovery from ailments
[43:21] The B Strong Innovation
On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Journey to Ixtlan by Carlos Castaneda
Boomer Anderson: [00:00:00]Welcome to decoding superhuman. This show is a deep dive into obsessions withhealth performance, and how to elevate the human experience. I explore thelatest tools, science and technology with experts in various fields of humanoptimization. This is your host Boomer Anderson. Enjoy the journey.
If you check. This episode out on my YouTube channel. You'llknow, I notice that my tongue is blue now. Why is my tongue blue? Well, I'mtaking a nootropic or Smurf Tropic. If you will called blue canteen, it helpsme with verbal fluency, short term memory focus and keeping up with guys likedr. James Stray Gundersen.
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Let's get on with my conversation with dr. James strayGundersen. Today's conversation actually began with a text message ororiginated with a text message. Dasha Maximov sent me a message and said, Hey,you need to try this because it is right up your alley. Short-cutting anabolicresponses and exercise.
Yes, of course. It's right up my alley. And a few minuteslater, I was emailing back and forth with my guest today. Dr. James strayGundersen. And if you're familiar with that name, you may have heard of live hightrain low for which he was the coauthor on that paper. But dr. Stray Gundersenis a world renowned expert in sports medicine, exercise, physiology, andtraining.
Frankly, if I were to read his entire resume, it would takeup an entire podcast episode. But drawing from his lifetime of experience withelite level athletes in clinical populations. Dr. Jim stray Gundersen is one ofthe world's leading exercise physiologists who strongly believes that bloodflow restriction will revolutionize training and rehabilitation everywhere anddesigning the be strong system was Sean Whalen.
Dr. Stray Gundersen wished to make the move affordable,simple, safe, and effective blood flow restriction training brand on themarket. And he wanted to share this with as many people as possible today, wehad a wide ranging conversation from the origins in the Midwest to his time,spent in Europe with Olympic teams, such as the Dutch speed skaters, but alsothe Norwegian Olympic teams.
And we got into blood doping. What that meant his study ofhypoxia and how that led to his real interest in blood flow restrictiontraining. By the end, we wrap up with the be strong training device and why itis one of the most revolutionary fitness devices on the market today. If youwant to check out this episode, well, you're checking out this episode, but ifyou want to check out the show notes, head on over todecodingsuperhuman.com/drjim and enjoy my conversation with a sports. Legenddr. James stray Gundersen. Alright, Today's review is called cutting edge.Right? Thank the person who left this. I left the review for five-star same foranyone interested in how they can be better. This is the podcast for you.Boomer dives into difficult issues and decodes, the controversies and myths.
If you believe human optimization is possible. And if youdidn't, you wouldn't be listening to the show. You really need to listen to theshow. So thank you to the gentleman who left that show. And if it grabs you ina good way, head on over to iTunes or Apple podcasts, as it's now known andleave a five star review because.
I'll read that on the show and also it helps get the wordout. Thank you,
dr. Jim, welcome to the show.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:04:41]Thank you, boomers. Nice to be here.
Boomer Anderson: [00:04:43]When we were chatting beforehand, aside from getting to meet your entire dogfamily, we're talking a little bit about the, your experience with theNetherlands speed skating team. And I would love to just understand a littlebit more from, you know, What brought you to being involved with theNetherlands speed skating team?
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:05:01]And what was that like for you? I would say it's more correct that, I've beeninvolved in, the international Federation for, speed skating, which is ISU. AndI I've been, at one time I was, on the medical committee for ISU and.Responsible for putting in our blood testing program or hematologic passport.
in addition to that, I've worked, closely with the American,the Canadian and the Norwegian, national speed skating teams, both long trackand short track. And, in that way, I've. Ended up spending a lot of time atHeron vein, for example, and a lot of other ice rinks around Europe and, alsogotten to know many of the, Dutch coaches and skaters and doctors and that sortof thing.
most recently, I was pulled into a case for a yarrow, YvonneKirkoff who's, she's a, short track racer and, she got falsely involved in alittle bit of trouble with her hematologic passport. And I was, happy to beable to get her out of that.
Boomer Anderson: [00:06:13]In terms of chemo, a lot, the humans passport, just for those who are not awareof that, is that some I'm guessing something to do with the blood testingexperience.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:06:22]Yeah. basically in the late eighties into the nineties, very are actuallyearlier than that, but let's just go with that. blood doping became a problemin many sports, including Speedskating cross country skiing, track cycling,pretty much anything where you needed sustained activity for more, more thantwo or three minutes.
And. I ended up being part of a group that, came up with atesting plan to deter and detect blood doping practices in short, in shortthere's, you can either get transfusions of your own blood or someone else's,or you can take, these, hormones or drugs, like, EPO that, Get you to make yourown red blood cells.
And, so, I was really the medical expert in charge of thatwith, ISU. And if you're dealing with ISU, you're dealing with Dutch speedskating.
Boomer Anderson: [00:07:25]Before we go down that anti-doping route. What brought you to speed skating ingeneral? Because I know you've been in the field for a while.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:07:36]Yeah, you're, you're Dutch.
Your audience will like this. I, I grew up in Wisconsin,close.
Boomer Anderson: [00:07:43]I went to university of Minnesota, so we have a little bit of a big 10 rivalryhere.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:07:47]Okay. Yeah. Well, I went to, I went to Madison, so, ah, okay. But anyway, Igrew up outside of Milwaukee and, near where the, Why are the, one of the fewovals is in the United States or was it that time?
And, my dad who, immigrated from Norway, had a parable speedskates that he used to use. So, we would end up, going out and trying that justa little bit for fun. we of course followed everything in the various Olympicgame when all of the games as they were coming up. And, and then when I was inMadison, actually, I would go out on to the lakes and just to skate around and,Eric Heiden and his sister and his mother were out there training.
So I hopped in with that. And so this was when I think Ericwas 12. So this must have been 1970. Two or so. And, anyway, since that timehave had a, a hand in us speed skating, as well as that evolved into a, thisanti-doping effort and then being a, expert for various kinds of training,again for, the U S Canadian and Norwegian teams primarily.
but you had some interaction with the Dutch.
Boomer Anderson: [00:09:11]Did you at one time live in Norway as well?
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:09:14]Yeah. from 1996 to 2002, we, lived, outset just on the edge of Oslow. I knowit's great. very much enjoyed that time. I was, I was a professor at the sportcollege there and, I also worked for the Norwegian Olympic committee.
Boomer Anderson: [00:09:31]Very cool. So I want to go back to that anti-doping situation, because youmentioned earlier that doping has been an issue in sports for a very long time.And what sort of, I guess, was this something that it was a personal passion ofyours in terms of discovering, these people that were doing it?
also, you know, how did you begin to dig into that stuff?Cause I believe the initial one was in Finland, right?
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:09:59]Yeah, well, the first testing thing. Yes. the, I growing up in Wisconsin, wedid a lot of winter sports. Yeah. as I, I got to be pretty close to a nationallevel and in a variety of these things.
and then, and then having gone to med school and all that, Iended up, being part of these teams more of as a physician, a physiologists, asopposed to, one of the athletes, but, In that, in those roles, I saw that wewere getting beat by people who were doing some pretty strange things. And, youknow, you kinda have a couple of choices, none of us like to lose tan.
So, either we had to join them or somehow arranged to, detertheir use and, Obviously the ethical choice is to try to deter their use. Andso, that was really what started the, the thing at the time, there was no bloodtesting and sport and, there's no way to. catch blood dopers without testingblood, a manner or another.
So, that was the first big political, but yeah. and. At thetime at the time, I was mainly involved with cross country ski racing. And sofrom the, and in, so instead of ISU as a Federation for skating, I was dealingwith FIS or the international ski Federation. And, we were the first to put inany kind of blood tests, for a health check.
At in, in our world cup. but you know that in a way that wassomewhat of a victory. And, we first did that in 1989 and, at the Lottie Nordicworld championships and, Basically, we ran some tests to, check the people'shemoglobin concentration as well as, we tested, the blood for EPO and we,tested what's called a partial glute nation reaction, which tests for the useof someone else's blood and, And we didn't catch anybody or at least of thepeople that we, we sample, they were all normal.
but, it was a bit of a victory because it was the first timein international sports where we were able to take blood samples and. It kindof seems like maybe it seems a little silly now, but, in my first efforts toget testing put in, I was told, Oh, you know, it's way too invasive to drawblood on somebody and you know, what are we going to do with all that medicalwaste?
And, you know, and it's just a lot nonsensical. another onewas, you know, it was against someone's religion to have blood drawn. andanyway, there is 1,000,001 excuses why we couldn't do this. And it was actuallya, a good political victory to be able to, to sample blood. And, you know,what's, what's behind all this stuff, is that when you're in the middle ofthese kinds of things, petitions, by the time you're at an Olympic level or aninternational level, everybody's a good athlete and everybody skilled and.
And there's a set of rules that people agree to play by. Andit was pretty clear to me that, there were particularly certain groups thatweren't playing by the rules and, that wanted to do what we could to, have themplay fairly as, as well as the, in re in. And that would then improve. Myathlete's abilities to be successful.
Cause they really didn't have a chance otherwise
Boomer Anderson: [00:14:10]and if you don't mind, and I'm curious what your thoughts are on the currentstate of doping in sports, because I'm sure you get asked this question all thetime. Like, has it been reduced or people getting, if you're willing to, yeah.People are getting smarter about it.
People are getting more innovative when it comes to theseprocesses.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:14:32]I, in general, I think things are much, much better than they, than they werein the eighties and nineties. there still are ways to beat the system and youfind those on occasion. the other yeah. Aspect of this is that. one of the, oneof the things that the hematologic passport kind of does is it it's notdesigned to catch athletes doping it's designed to, characterize and identifywhen big changes happen and then say, well, why is what's going on with thischange?
And in it, and in a way it's like a, one of the auditorsMADEC traffic camera boxes, where, you know, everybody's speeding like crazy amile or a kilometer before that, but they slowed down for the box. And so itit's really like putting a speed limit. Thanks. And, yeah. And then, so whathappens because these are in, this is indirect doping.
And so what happens is if you wildly dope or, you know,transfused yourself with five units of blood or whatever, it's going to show upon this as a huge change. Now, if you, you know, transfuse a quarter of a unitof blood, hematologic passport may not even register that this is somethingdifferent. So one of the nice things about the hematologic passport is that,it, it kinda confines the athletes that want to cheat into more normalbehavior.
That they can get away with and not get caught. And sobefore you know, it, they're kind of not cheating very much and not gettingvery much of an advantage so that, clean athletes can compete with them. Causeone of the big things that, I saw a lot is clean athletes coming in fourth orfifth.
Not winning their metal, but you know, if they were, if thetruth be known, they were actually the best athlete out there. And the fittestathlete out there on that day. And, it's a real travesty, both financially andfame and everything else where they don't, they don't receive that recognition.So that was a driving part to it.
And so we, we, we think of. Rather than kind of good copsand bad ass or whatever. we, we want to essentially it's, it's not like we'retrying to say, okay, you were doping it's we're trying to say, okay,everybody's got to more or less plan on a safe and even playing field. we'llsee, to carrying that out.
So that, you know, there's an even competition.
Boomer Anderson: [00:17:40]One of the things my audience may not be aware of is that you originallycoauthored the paper on live high train low, and I was. We'd love to justexplore the potential benefits of this for, for instance, a cognitive athlete,like could there potentially be benefits for cognitive athlete in a living hightraining, low scenario.
And what would those be?
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:18:04]The short answer is yes. so when, when people, when people go first go toaltitude, it starts in a climatization process. and that the climatizationprocess, the strangely enough, when someone goes to altitude, their problem isnot getting as much oxygen as they needed to.
And you need oxygen to think and to do pretty much anything.And, So adaptations are put into place to try to, mitigate, the lack of oxygenthat, that may be there. And, we know from, some Russian studies in, in theHimalayas. Where, Russian soldiers would have to go up into Pakistan and Indiaand various places on the POL where they're at very high altitudes, theircognitive function would deteriorate such that they were not operational and.
But that if they would spend two to three, three to fourweeks there, then all of a sudden these things would come back. So whateveradaptations they got from that altitude exposure, help them with theircognitive function, certainly add altitude and, you know, you probably had thesame thing coming back for awhile.
Boomer Anderson: [00:19:25]So I live in the Netherlands and this is a selfish question, which, you knowexactly. Let's see. Yeah. What we're below, right? The joke is, is that Godbuilt the world in seven days. And then the eighth day, the Dutch built anotherones. Right. And so, you know, I have almost the. The exact opposite situationthat I would want.
And in terms of mimicking this live high train low for acognitive, my life has predominantly cognitive athletics, if you will. But I dostill train like an athlete. Is there any way to mimic that? Like, are any ofthese devices worth it?
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:20:05]Well, there are nitrogen tents that, were actually first invented in, inavascular, Finland, by a friend of mine named Hakey Risco.
And, the idea is that Finland and the Netherlands don't havemountains high enough to. Come and visit park city. So yeah, which I've beenthere and I love going there, but it's not exactly the shortest flight in theworld. No, but you know, there's a direct flight from salt Lake to Amsterdam.
Boomer Anderson: [00:20:37]I've been on that flight a couple of times actually.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:20:40]anyhow, the, the, idea is that you can create these little micro environmentsthat simulate altitude and, we know they work for increasing, red cell massand, and they can induce the ventilatory changes. We see with altitudeexposure. I don't know that anybody's really done a lot of cognitive testingbefore and after in between, see what's going on, but.
There are ways of simulating altitude at Cielo.
Boomer Anderson: [00:21:12]It, if you were to design your own experiment here, w what would be kind of theamount of time you'd want to spend in one of these nitrogen tents, if you will,to try and simulate this and perhaps do that cognitive test.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:21:27]Yeah. So. Imagine a spectrum, creating hypoxia, from putting a plastic bag overyour head, pretty small volume, but be effective if it's sealed right.
And all the way to living in the mountains where everything,things hypoxic. So somewhere in that spectrum is the situation that works forthe individual, depending on where they happen to be. And, Then the nextoverlay is okay if I, I, and generally, if you're creating any situations, youwant to live there for a substantial length of time.
So, you know, if you're going to convert your bedroom to anitrogen room, for example, you know, the intention is to be there for monthsand, and. Yeah. One has to balance the volume of space. You're making hypoxicwith the psychological cost of being cooped up into something. So we've allfelt that recently, right?
Yeah. Right, right. Exactly. And so, so here in park citywhere I get outside and you know, everything's fine. That's very nicepsychological. Situation where if I had to be confined to a room, I mean, thatisn't so nice. And, and if that, if that in that room, it was, you had to spend12 out of 24 hours. Maybe it gets doable, but then one of the things that's onthe market are basically little camping tents that you can do this with.
And or things that you just put over your bed and thatspending significant time in there, has its psychological costs. Let's put itthat way. And so, you know, you have to figure out what's right for you with,with all this stuff. Okay.
Boomer Anderson: [00:23:32]And then once you come down from altitude, is there a particular length of timethat. Before you just adapt and go back to quote unquote normal for that.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:23:43]So different adaptations come and go at different rates. So generally it takesabout four weeks to have a significant increase in red cell mass. And you havethat significant increase or a benefit for about four weeks after. You believe,the vanilla Tory adaptations that happen.
they usually come within a week and they're usually gonewithin a week come down. So I'm there lots of little small things that.Probably can't be studied. one of the things that's a common observation forwhatever reason is that people that have spent time at altitude, adapt reallyquickly when they come back to altitude again.
And then whether that's, they've kind of learned how tobehave or, there's some residual adaptations, Who knows? Maybe both.
Boomer Anderson: [00:24:39]So where does blood flow restriction training come into this entire picture?Because you've had this massive career and performance sports at one point, didyou discover this?
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:24:55]specifically I became aware of, the original Japanese version KATU, back in,2000. Oh, probably 11, but it wasn't so much of that. So I would say a commonthread throughout my career has been the use of hypoxia a one way or another.In the case of blood doping, obviously increasing red cell mass is a way ofdelivering more oxygen to the tissues that need it.
And Al training is about being hypoxic and having the properadaptations happen there. A thing about blood flow restriction training, it'sanother way of inducing local hypoxia in the tissues while leaving set thebrain and the heart, the rest of the organs to get the normal oxygenated,blood. And so, so.
It, it ends up being a very interesting tool to startseparating kind of the systemic from the local effects of hypoxia and from, andthat's what the attraction is from a scientific standpoint.
Boomer Anderson: [00:26:06]And you've spent time in Japan studying this, I believe. Right, right. And so,I guess, you know, looking at just. The wide range of benefits in terms of,blood flow restriction training. Before we get into that, just kind of, if youdon't mind explaining to people exactly what the, what is blood flowrestriction training and you know, why, why we should be interested in yeah.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:26:38]Great questions. The short answer is that it's anti-aging medicine.
Boomer Anderson: [00:26:44]Okay. That's something that's going to light up a few people that are listeningto this by the way.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:26:48]Right. And, and it should, cause this is really, the cat's Meow in terms of,us, us optimizing our health span in our lifespan, but let me sort of get in,cause it it's actually. there's two things.
One is science as not fully understand stood how the bodyadapts to exercise stimuli and some recent things. And. I actually work overthe last 20 or 30 years, at, at my institution in Dallas, at a UT Southwestern,provided a background to really understanding some of, some of these things.What, what produced, what, and, And, you know, so we all kind of have thisimage in our head.
If you want to get good at something physical, you ought togo do that thing, and then you get better. And, that is kind of the standardapproach with weight training, where let's say you want to get strong biceps,you ended up doing bicep curls. And the idea is that you're training that bicepmuscle and its tendons and everything else to be able to do more work.
it turns out that, and we've all heard from our trainingbackgrounds or at least American football players have about no pain, no gain.And, you know,
Boomer Anderson: [00:28:18]had that drilled in my head growing up.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:28:21]Okay. There you go. And the thing is, that's not right. . But in some ways itis. Yeah. If you start flipping things around, so.
we're not talking about pain, but the way that the body headapts to physical stress, is it sensing what's going on in those tissues, fromsensory nerves and those sensory nerves, take information back to the brainthat something is happening. And usually if you're, exercising hard or long orthat sort of thing, The, the tissues that are working, send a signal to thebrain.
That's saying, Hey guys, this isn't a lot of fun here. Webet we ought to stop at mile 20 or, you know, let's, let's put that 300 poundweight down and, That fatigue signal ends up. Not only letting the organismknow that they're fatiguing, but it is also the initiation of the processesthat will then rebuild the tissue and, and take it, take it even farther.
So, so what happens is. And the body does this with a lot ofdifferent things. There's sometimes the signal is an alarm signal, but it'salso a stimulus to produce, the solution for whatever the problem might'vebeen. And, so what be strong training does and BFR training in general issupposed to do, is it.
Bio hacks or, sends, sends a signal to the brain to adaptwith that. Having done the long or intense exercise it takes to send thatsignal normally. So you don't have to be out at mile 20 on your marathon. youcould in, and you were saying in 15, 20 minutes, you can get a full workout andprofound feelings of fatigue.
It was. From a combination of light, otherwise easy exerciseplus, restricting or not letting the working tissue get all the blood andoxygen, they need to sustain the work. So that combination has created a, whatI call it, disturbance of homeostasis in the working tissue. And there'svarious biochemical things that are associated with that.
But suffice it to say that that disturbance of homeostasis.Number one is sensed by the brain, but also in itself starts local aupregulation of protein synthesis and a lot of other things trying to repairthe damage it thought was being done. The trick is we really didn't do any damage.Yeah. And so you started to adapting and getting better, right?
From the get go. And in as few as three to five to sevenworkouts, you can notice significant improvement in strength and ability to dothings.
Boomer Anderson: [00:31:24]And so you kind of hit a, a very strong buzzword with this audience, which is15 to 20 minutes and wow. I can get a complete workout and it seems extremelyeffective.
Now there's a few things that I would love to just kind offollow on and double click here. on those various, mechanisms that actuallycaused this to work. You, you touched on one with kind of protein synthesis,but what are some of the other things does that happen within the muscle that.Because we're not tearing muscle here necessarily if I understand that.
Right. What other things are going on that cause people,cause when I came across blood flow restriction training, it was thatbodybuilding crew that was really using it to get quote unquote squall. butwhat are some of the things that are going on that helped build that muscle insuch a short time?
By the end of this episode, you may get really, reallyexcited about be strong. You may get really excited about blood flowrestriction training. You may wonder where can I check this thing out? Head onover to be strong.training and use the code boomer for 10% off. Because I'veused it for the past month and I absolutely love it.
And you guys will, too. It fits in my suitcase. It goes withme everywhere. And I use it every day as we're going to discuss here in alittle bit, and I don't have the need to have rest days, which is amazing forhabitability. Enjoy the rest of my conversation with dr. James stray tounderstand.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:33:07]Yeah. So essentially we're tipping the balance between build up of tissue andbreakdown of tissue. And, so we're kind of optimizing thing. Not only does thedisturbance of homeostasis. And for example, those things include a drop in pHor the ass. The amount of acid increases in a cell, the GoTo, or they mighthave oxygen goes down in that cell.
very, and, shortly the cell starts to run out of ATP orintracellular, phosphates, really the energy currency of the cell. And, Whenyou get low levels of intracellular, phosphate, then electrolyte, gradients don'twork. Right. And all, all sorts of things, you start going outside of theseranges of parameters where things can work.
Right. And, that in and of itself is a stimulus to protein.10th is in the cell to try to fix these problems. in addition, it also starts aprocess where we increase the number of, anabolic hormone cell receptor, on thesurface of the, of the shell. So that any anabolic hormones or anything elsethat are coming along.
Are more likely to bind to that cell and more likely toamplify, the anabolic processes that are going on. And so one of the thingsthat, what we do now is that a, yeah, to work or the study was done with katsuis that. 15 to 20 minutes after a decent katsu workout, you increase, growthhormone, production from your brain and growth hormone in turn stimulates theliver to make more, IGF one or insulin growth factor one.
in addition, it stimulates the testes to produce moretestosterone. all of these things, if you will, there's an anabolic or buildingmill you that has created that amplifies, anything that was going on now, inaddition to that, one of the things that we do with blood flow restrictiontraining is we modify, we basically distend the veins and the capillaries and,and not much happens to the arteries under the right circumstance, but, We endup when we do exercise, imagine we have this extremity that's full of blood,cause it's kinda gotten backed up and then you do a muscle contraction and thatmuscle squeezes this blood out and puts it back into the central circulation.
Hmm. And so what you have with capillaries and veins is youhave well, this distension and emptying of these walls and that actually.Causes a series of things to build new and better blood vessels or new andbetter endothelium. And, that's a big part of the anti aging thing. So whenwe're built and, this has been done, there's a paper by a guy named Larkin thatwas in medicine, science, sports, and exercise.
I believe in 2014. 2015. Anyway, he looked at, increases inmr. And a, or the initial building block for a particular kind of protein,specifically for VGF, hip one, alpha nitric oxide, synthetase, isoforms, andall, all these things are critical components to building new and better peoplevessels.
And he found that these things. We're at sometimes tenfold,stimulated, by blood flow restriction training compared to normal trainingalone or the same kind of work. So, We know that we have very powerful or wehave data that says we have very powerful stimuli to, increase size andstrength of muscle to, decreased fat mass or to mobilize fat stores anddecrease fat stores.
And to build new and butter, better blood vessels. There'salso information that we can improve bone density, as well as improve thetensile strength of tendons and ligaments. There's even a rat study that showedthat, A version of blood flow restriction training in a rat where they tie offthe femoral artery.
Boomer Anderson: [00:37:36]I was going to ask how that actually works with our app, but, it, it ends upcutting down.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:37:42]It doesn't cut all it restricts blood flow into the extremity. And, the ratscan't run anymore, but they can, they can, walk around just fine, cause of thecollateral circulation. So, but yeah, what they were looking at in this studyis they found that, the density of, nerve receptors on muscle membranes, aswell as the number of, synaptic vesicles.
On neuro fibers was increased. these are called nicotinicacetylcholine. Receptors. And the way that nerves transmit is that there'sthese little vesicles in the nerve ending that release acetylcholine into thespace between the nerve and the muscle surface, and acetylcholine goes andbinds to these nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.
And in that way, propagates the bio electric, for, forcountry that's about to happen. And, and they did this study in aging rats. Andwhat we know that happens with aging, it's kind of on this, lose it, or if youdon't use it, you'll lose it idea is that the density of these kinds of, of,nerve receptors, was decreased with age and humans and then everything else.
And they found a way in a rat to stimulate, increasing. Thedensity of these things, the idea being that if you have more. or a higherdensity of these nerve receptors, you're more coordinated. you can get morecontractile, efforts going and everything else. So nerves, bone, tendons,ligaments, muscles, blood vessels, pretty much everything in there.
Extremity fat, all of these things show adaptations that areassociated with essentially anti-aging. So it's very, very nice story,actually. And I would say the crux is, and you know, you point to this 15 to 20minutes, the crux is we found a way all of these adaptations happen. Withathletics, but you have to be doing, you know, a hundred mile weeks or, youknow, doing things that by the time you get three, my age, it just can't doanymore.
And, so this in a very time efficient manner. Recreates thereally good things that happened when you were able to do 10 hours or 20 hoursof training in a week. And for those of us that have jobs and families, anddon't have two to three hours a day to spend in the gym. Yeah, exactly. So bestrong as a solution to getting that kind of good.
A regular exercise. It stimulates adaptation, to produce agood, healthy lifespan.
Boomer Anderson: [00:40:42]Wondering if you're willing to just hypothesize or just think through this, ifthere hasn't been any studies, because some of the therapeutic effects, youmentioned things like improvements in vascularity, bone density, et cetera,have direct implications for some pretty large problems within society.
Has there been any studies with effects of this on thingslike cardiovascular disease? Obviously I think osteopenia is a given. Orosteoporosis, but those types of diseases. Yeah.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:41:12]Some, they, they use, cuts for, cardiac rehab in Japan. So, and they, feel thatit's better than normal exercise, partially because it's not as hard andpartially because you can get a better.
Probation of the system with blood flow restriction trainingthan you can normally. the other thing to say is that, and this is more of aNorth American problem than a European or Japanese problem, but we there's,there's something called metabolic syndrome or metabolic, which is beingoverweight.
Having a high cholesterol, having a high blood pressure andhaving, high blood sugar or diabetes. And this is a constellation of thingsthat come from basically no regular exercise and a typical American diet. And,or I should say a relatively high fat, high protein, low carbohydrate dietthat, no.
Ends up using a lot in the products. That's a whole notherstory. Another episode with you, dr. Jack there. but, there's preliminary datathat a be strong training, program, mitigates all of these factors that reducesbody fat. It reduces blood pressure. It reduces, or improves glucose controland improves lipid profile.
So, but show does normal regular exercise if you do enoughof it. And again, we get back to this thing of, we've. Maybe stumbled upon amethod for, or everybody to get in the regular exercise. There's a need in avery convenient way, whether it's at home at work on the road, a hotel room,and a very short period of time to get the benefits they need from regularexercise to have a healthy lifestyle.
Boomer Anderson: [00:43:21]As well we haven't yet, but you made some innovations on blood flow restrictiontraining. Do you mind just discussing how the be strong, device differs from,anything from just like putting wraps around your arm to other
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:43:37]So, so that's, you know, that's. It's kind of funny. That's where a lot of thisstuff started.
basically taking a judo belt and wrapping around andextremity multiple times kind of cranking it down and, that's associated withproblems and there's, there's a lot of guys in the gym who are. Taken Cub scoutbelts and everything else, and kind of cranking them on and saying, Oh, I'mdoing blood flow restriction training and it's not really effective and it'snot really safe to do it that way.
And so one of the first big innovations that, Sato made washe, he, he, he actually used a bicycle inner tube. You know, where, he used thatto inflate and by inflating that to a certain amount or a certain pressure, hecould get to a reproducible amount of blood flow restriction each time fromperson to person and from within the same person from one time to another,where none of these infections.
Previously, systems that did really have a capability ofbeing inflated were a bladder. you know, it was kind of all over the place.You, you, you got it right one day and you didn't get it right the next day.And, so that happened for a while. And then, actually a bunch of people in theWest started seeing.
What katsu was doing. And I thought they knew what thedevice was. So they went out, ran out and I hold blood pressure cuffs, which wehave that inflatable thing. but, blood pressure cuffs differ from the strongand katsu in that, once you put the blood pressure cuff on. The, the, the vaultI am inside the cylinder that's contained by that company.
I can't change. So it's, it would what I refer to as a rigidsystem. Yeah. And then what happens is when you blow in or fleet of bladderwithin a rigid system, you know, something's got to give somewhere. And, whathappens is you collapse the veins because they're a pretty low pressure system.And so you collapse the veins and then by the time you get over, arterial bloodpressure, you occluded the, the arteries as well.
but beyond that, there's not much else it can leave thiscylinder or this contained by this, by this rigid outer cuff. And so when youexercise, muscles swell, just normal. And, also as you're, as you're doing acontraction, the muscle is shortening and it, but it's getting fatter. So now asudden you're taking up more space in a cylinder under that is contained.
And, and one of the things that Sato did in one way, we didin another way, which is to make it a habit elasticity to this outer. Outercircuit. And that really, creates a safe and very effective way of doing bloodflow restriction training. So, you know, too, two big things, one theinflatable aspect so that you could control how much pressure was going on.
And then. Secondly, the elastic aspect, to accommodatemuscle contraction and muscle swelling as it goes, and to only really, restrictthe venous outflow and still allow arterial inflow, which is, is key to safety.So, And, none of the other systems do that except for katsu and be strong. And,we do them in different ways where when you inflate, when you inflate ourdevice, it actually the whole band kind of contracts and helps you with theblood flow restriction.
where, when you inflate a katsu device, it expands andstretches and got all the ministries. yeah, that's kind of the big differencebetween us, but, the kind of, so what of that is that it turns out that, we'remuch better. The way that we have this design, there's, there's a limitedamount of contraction that can happen.
And that's small enough so that no matter how high you runthe pressure, really, you're not going to get any more, because of the volumein the sun. Yeah. And we've done it in a way where it all it. It ensures, thearterial end flow into a, into an extremity is maintained, which is a reallybig deal.
It sounds a little weird, but it's, it's a really big dealfor making a safe system. Yeah.
Boomer Anderson: [00:48:36]Can I just double click on that for a second? Because if I'm hearing thatcorrectly, you guys have a web app, which explains how to set this up and sortof the ideal pressures for the individual. if I read what you said correctly orheard, cause I'm not reading right now. if. Can I over pump the system andtherefore create this situation of occlusion or is that impossible to do.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:49:04]You know, you never want to say anything's impossible, but normal circumstancesplacing the bands in the right place using our pump that has a limited 500millimeter 500 millimeters of mercury.
you, you can pump, you can, our recommendations typicallyfor arms, or it might be from 200 to two 50, but you can go to 500 and stillhave, have, the Arturo land. So they'll maintain. So, we ended up, you know,these absolute statements are they're dangerous. I know, but, if the bands areput in the proper locations and our pumps are, our pump is used and ourrecommendations follow, it's virtually impossible to occlude our treeline flow.
Boomer Anderson: [00:49:51]Because the muscle isn't necessarily tearing. Can I use it every day?
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:49:57]Yeah. So I'm one of the big things. That a lot of the power sport athletesfound there was bodybuilding or, or a weightlifting, or for example, eightAlpine skiing. And in my case that were very involved with, they normally wouldhave have 48 hours between a really hard, intense workouts.
Again, as some muscle was damaged in the, of course of the,of the workout. With, with be strong. Instead of every other day, you can dotwo workouts today, if you want it to amen. Recover quicker from, and if you'regetting, if you're getting, let's say four times the, the impulse or thestimulus move forward, you're going to end up with that.
Yeah. Yeah. Adapt quicker. And particularly if you haven'tdone any of the damage in the first place, so, and then another factor is, iskind of age. And as we age, we're less tolerant of hard work. And so what Iwould say is that, athletes who are used to training in their twenties andthirties, they might do to be strong sessions a day.
Kind of recreational or everyday folk between, I dunno, 40and 60. Maybe they, they do, five days a week or maybe it's, they end upfinding out that three is as much as they really feel good about handling. Andit, it has to take into consideration all the other things that are going on intheir lives.
And, but it's kinda nice to get into a. A weekday routine offirst thing in the morning, you do 15 to 20 minutes and you're off, you know,just like you brush your teeth and you're, and you're off a good, a good path.I would say that the elderly, you know, eighties, you know, elderly is gettingolder as, as I am, but, people in their eighties ended up kinda drifting in toabout twice a week as what's right for them.
Boomer Anderson: [00:52:05]So yeah, the, the two sessions a day. you know, which is by the way, how yououtlined it in terms of waking up. And basically instead of brushing my teeth,I put on the be strong. I do brush my teeth, eventually brush your teeth too.One more. I'm glad we have the zoom because then you can smell my breath.
I'm I'm joking. but. In terms of other exercise, becausethere is a lot of people listening to this, myself included that have this sortof Puritan work ethic and feel like they have this need to run, swim, jump allof this stuff. Yeah. Is anything else fundamentally needed or is that just sortof added bonus afterwards?
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:52:50]well they're there there's. I think there's lots of reasons to exercise. One ofthe reasons to go cycling or they're jogging or playing tennis or soccer slashfootball or whatever, is cause it's fun. And yeah. then another, theircomponent of this is usually maybe not so much when we're young or, but as weage, we need to be doing fitness activities so that we can enjoy.
These they're, they're certainly exercise activities, butthey're the, the basis for them is fun and, and health for that, for thatmatter. And, the lifestyle that I would. Recommend creating is one in which,you know, you kind of get the chores over with in the morning. First thing isinclude a be strong session.
15 minutes is good enough on a daily basis. And, And then goabout the rest of your day. And if, if that day called for a tent, 10 kilometerjog, great, our a hundred kilometer bike ride, great. you know, whatever,whatever the rest of your other, otherwise your life was about.
Boomer Anderson: [00:54:05]So what's the significance of the lightweight. Like, because, you know, I diddo power lifting for quite a long time. And there is that inner egoic thingthat, you know, you want to pick up something heavy, but with this, you know,it's high reps, low weight. What's the significance of this
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:54:24]thing we're going to do with you boomers. We're going to paint your way pink.
Boomer Anderson: [00:54:28]And, and I am painting. I am painting quite the image of myself and I know thisis the first time we met, but, I'm totally fine with big weights. Let's do itnow.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:54:39]So, so the I here and here, here's what a lot of weightlifters and bodybuildersthat have gotten into this do is they may test themselves with normal liftingworkouts once a week, or once every 10 days and more or less as a test to seehow they're doing.
And. Yes. They've been doing be strong, all of a sudden it,their max reps or, or their max, their one rep max is going up and they're justpiddling around with dinky little things. And generally we use for, for thosepeople that are lifting. we say that anywhere from 20 to 30% of one rep max ismy weight, which for anybody that's really lifted her, are you kidding me?
That's ridiculous. I'm not going to get stronger doing that,but that's really the key here because. What we're doing normally, when you'redoing heavy lifting, maximal lifting, you have to recruit pretty much the wholemuscle to get to move the weight or whatever muscles are involved in the lift.And, With be strong.
What happens is we're just recruiting the easiest, recruitedfibers and we're getting them because they're not, and they're usually the mostdependent on blood flow, but we've restricted that blood flow. So they get intometabolic trouble and they get to a point where they can't maintain it. Yes.
Yes. The. The guy in the, in the brain is saying, I want youto continue doing that. They have to use other fibers to get, get that done.And so before you know it, you start recruiting all the fibers in the muscle.And as you get deeper and deeper into fast Twitch populations, they are lessand less back vascularized and get into metabolic trouble quicker than theyusually the most thing.
And so you end up creating this, disturbance of homeostasisand this cascade that goes through the entire motor unit. And, that's the waythat you end up, stimulating adaptation and even even the fastest, whichfibers. And we, we, we know this because, cause there've been muscle biopsystudies that look at, you know, one measure of, the use of a fiber is that,it's, it's become glycogen depleted from, the work it's done.
And we, we can see that with elastic BFR training, we candeplete all the fibers in a particular, muscle. So we know we're getting intothose, faster Twitch populations and stimulus those fibers that you can eitherdo with a heavy, heavy lift. Or you can do with a combination of both weightlift and blood flow restriction and yeah.
Producing that, stimulus for adaptation and. One of thethings is, and I'm sure you can relate to this. This is, you know, let's sayyou're doing some heavy squad or something and you're saying, Oh well, can I,you know, I add another, you know, 10 kilos onto the bar or not. And then maybeyou get into the weight and you get through one rep and you go, yeah, I don'tknow if I'm going to be able to do that second rep or whatever with blood flowrestriction training.
You mean maybe doing squats with just the bar. And, and.Really getting fatigued and, and, but it's, you're able to take that risk ofdoing that last or that last two reps, because it's no big deal. If you dropthe bar where if you lose control of, you know, 200 kilos over your head, thatends up being a problem.
And so you can actually press yourself into a greater degreeof fatigue with, with, blood flow restriction training than, than otherwise.And if you do happen to lose control the weight, you're not going to hurt yourback or drop it on your foot or your throat or whatever.
Boomer Anderson: [00:58:51]My my L four L five.
Thanks. You already, there you go. In terms of it, just onelast question, before we go into just some final, rapid fire questions, theeffects of this, are they systemic or should I be doing training splits of kindof upper lower? how do you look at them? Huh?
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [00:59:08]My short answer is both. Okay. There are definitely local effects and to getspecific adaptation for, let's say specific lists, you're going to want to dothose lifts.
but they're the big key to this thing is the systemic effectof inducing this anabolic, hormonal cascade. So both.
Boomer Anderson: [00:59:33]Thank you for all of this, dr. Jim, and just a huge debt of gratitude before Iget to those questions, because this device I've enjoyed it. It's I likechanging workouts from time to time, but like, there's something about the bestrong one.
I could throw it in my carry on. Which is extremelyimportant to me. and I don't need much in terms of accessories with it. Youmentioned the pink dumbbells, if you will. but you know, bands, whatever it isI can use and you don't need much and you can do it everywhere. I've done it onzoom videos.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [01:00:08]You can get a, you can get a workout in and the time it would normally take youto get to the health club.
Boomer Anderson: [01:00:14]Yeah, it's crazy. And. No, I haven't done the two-a-days yet, but you've seededthe idea with me. So I'm probably going to do that very soon. So thank you forthis.
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [01:00:25]You can also get on that bike behind you.
Boomer Anderson: [01:00:27]I probably haven't done that again. Another great idea. So I'll let you knowhow that goes. Maybe I'll post a video on that one too. Okay. Final, rapid firequestions for you. What sites you about, or what excites you most about thehealth world right now?
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [01:00:50]okay. So, okay. The deal used to be, some line came along and bit you in theleg and you sought out the doctor to try to fix the damage that the lion did,or you were skiing and you. Hurt your knee or whatever. And so this, or youdeveloped a fever and you got sick, so then you sought out medical help to dealwith a specific, health issue and that, and that's evolved into heart attacks andall sorts of other things that, that in my mind are, labeled disease care and,What I'm excited about is that we're, the world is transitioning into somethingthat I would call health care, although it's a little bit different definitionand that basically is.
Is, prudent and responsible nutrition as well as regularexercise in various forms and then can throw in not smoking and not ridingmotorcycles and, don't do drugs and those sorts of things. Maybe sleeping alittle bit. Yeah. So, and, and so it, we're starting to. Transition into whatwe should all be about, which is maximizing our health span
while still dealing with the occasional, pandemic that comesalong or, or, heart attacks or that kind of thing, from, a, institution, or Idon't know what you want to call it. That's been focused on dealing withproblems. As opposed to what amounts to preventative medicine or, that sort ofthing.
And I think. I think be strong has a very big place in beingable to deliver that a daily dose of, exercise is medicine for, for thepopulation for pretty much everybody. And particularly for those, those peoplewhose lifestyles end up, making them press for time to, to get that stuff done
Boomer Anderson: [01:03:12]book, which has most impacted your life.
I'm sorry, what? The book, which has most impacted yourlife. Wow. Oh,
Dr. James Stray-Gundersen: [01:03:28]Oh, there's much. You can go with more than one too. Yeah. I think, books thatimpacted by there. I ran into these while I was in med school and in myresidency. but things like death, be not proud, by Kubler Ross. there's anotherbook. That's the title is, forgive and remember, which is about, And, you know,the old, the expression is forgiven forget, but, here we want to forgive andremember, and, and, and it's, and it's about, physicians in a medical centerand, and what they have to do with the various things that they run into.
Another set of books that I really liked a lot, was, done byCarlos Castaneda about, it's about a, basically, Southwestern and Mexican,shamanism and ways to achieve spiritual, reflection, that, that I think haveserved me well. couple of other philosophers, I don't know. I don't read a lotin the novels. The things I read are generally scientific papers and I don'tknow that they move me terribly. what's your top trick for enhancing yourfocus? If you have one? I dunno, just, trying to try to lead a healthylifestyle. I would. Yes, dr. Jim, where can people find out more about you andthis fantastic device that you've created? Well, I would direct them to ourwebsite, the letter B strong.training. that's, that's pretty much the bestplace these days to go for things.
Missing, dr. Jim, thank you so much for taking the timetoday. This has been an absolute pleasure and really big education for me. Sothank you again for everything you do and the device you've created. It'sfantastic. Well, thank you very much. It's a pleasure to speak with you and.You do it again to all the superhumans listening out there have an Epic day.
Okay. There are some episodes that just leave me saying,wow, that's one of them. Dr. Stray Gundersen did not disappoint. And why wouldwe think he would? Because he's done. So much in the world sports. I love theconversation about live high train low and how it applies to the cognitiveathlete. I enjoyed learning so much from him about blood flow restrictiontraining so much so that we're going to have another episode on the be strongdevice.
Very, very soon. The show notes for this one are decodingsuperhuman.com/dr. Jim, as dr. Jim. And if you enjoyed the episode, share it onthe social medias, tell a friend and tag decoding superhuman, because I reallyappreciate you and want to acknowledge you. Thank you for listening. Have anabsolutely Epic day and choose health.
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I’ve been fascinated by blood flow restriction training for a very long time. And the guys at Bstrong did some really cool innovations with their technology. I use it just about every day, high reps, low number of sets, a few exercises. And in 20 minutes I have a fantastic workout, which I know is triggering an anabolic response and who doesn’t like that. So if you want to get your Bstrong blood flow restriction device, head on over to bstrong.training and enter the code BOOMER for 10% off.View Company
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